Back in 2014, Walgreens was hit with a permanent injunction against leaving expired price tags on its shelves. According to a new lawsuit from the Missouri attorney general's office, the chain is back at its old tricks again.
The latest lawsuit cites an investigation launched that found more than 1,300 expired tags in 49 stores across the state, some as old as 2013.
Late to the Party
Walgreens submitted to independent auditing of its Missouri stores, promising to remove stale tags within 12 hours of expiration. Although the retail chain assured the state its stores would meet 98 percent price accuracy, 30 stores failed to meet that mark and Walgreens has already paid $136,000 to the state for failing the audits.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is asking for Walgreen's to be held in contempt of court for violating the price tag order:
"Consumers have a right to rely on the pricing that they see on the shelves without having to verify the cost of each item in their basket when they go up to the cash register. Instead, Walgreens continues their shoddy business practice, putting the burden on customers to ensure they’re not being overcharged."
Pay the Piper
The Missouri AG's lawsuit says the investigation found 1,306 expired tags at 49 of 50 Walgreens stores and is asking for $5,000 per tag violation. And that potential $6.5 million civil fine is just the start.
According to St. Louis Public Radio, Walgreens may also owe its customers some money: "Under the 2014 legal agreement customers who are overcharged for an item costing $5 or less are legally entitled to get that item for free and get a $10 gift card if they’re overcharged for items costing more than $5."
Beyond the hit to Walgreens's reputation among shoppers, the retail giant could also take a sizable hit to the wallet.
- Walgreen deceives shoppers with stale price tags-Missouri AG (Reuters)
- Walgreens Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Walgreens Overcharged for Generic Meds, Lawsuit Claims (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Pricing Disputes: You Pay the Lowest Marked Price (FindLaw's Common Law)